Volunteer High School student recounts hearing of emergency situation inside school

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HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Volunteer High School student and her mother shared their thoughts on the situation at the school Tuesday.

The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office reports deputies responded to the school just before 8 a.m. after receiving a report of an active shooter. After a large police response, the sheriff’s office posted to Facebook saying no one had been injured and a suspect had not been located.

Chris Vaughan of the Church Hill Rescue Squad, who also responded to the scene, said in a media briefing later that two people had been transported to a nearby hospital with unknown injuries. Those injuries were unrelated to the reported shooting, and no gunshot wounds have been reported, according to Vaughan.

Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson and Director of Schools Matt Hixson said later that there had only been one person transported to the hospital. They said that the student had experienced a seizure during the incident, and it was an unrelated injury.

Rhonda Lawson, the mother of two VHS students, Donovan and Madison Lawson, said she received a call from her daughter shortly after dropping them off at school asking for her to come pick them up.

“This is an in the middle-of-nowhere high school, you’d never think this would happen here,” Rhonda Lawson said. “It’s hard to digest it.”

Madison said she was in the gym at the time of the incident. At first, she thought it was a drill until she saw an armed police officer running through the gym.

“A police officer ran through the gym with a gun, and I realized this is real,” Madison said.

Madison added that someone spoke over the intercom saying they had a shooter trapped in a bathroom.

Rhonda said that when she arrived, she was able to find Madison but her son Donovan was still inside the school.

Rhonda continued by saying that she was aware that students were being taken by bus to the National Guard Armory in Mount Carmel. Director of Schools Matt Hixson advised all parents to go to the armory to find their children while authorities continue to sweep the school.

Rhonda said she later located Donovan.

Rhonda asked for prayers for all involved and thanked law enforcement and everyone who responded to the incident.

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